Elfster’s Guide to Gift Giving Customs Around the World
The similarities we share dwarf our differences. All across the world, people celebrate their sacred and meaningful holidays by coming together with food and with song, with love, laughter, and gifts. Our ability to do this—to take a day or week out of the year, give it significance, and join together with the ones we love—is one of the most remarkable and beautiful parts about being human.
At Elfster, we want to spotlight the beautiful traditions that make up the fabric of our country—that are the heartbeat of our world. That’s why we created our Gift Giving Customs Around the World series, shining a light on the celebrations that brighten our lives.
From India to Israel, from Africa to Japan, and from Mexico to the Middle East, these traditions are shared by friends and families on every continent. You, or someone you know, probably celebrates one of these holidays. Join us as we learn about the roots and traditions of each one with Elfster’s ultimate guide to international gifting.
In Japan, gift-giving is less about the gift itself as the meaning behind it, which is why a simple gift is often the best. Japanese customs and the tradition of gift giving can be highly ritualized and formal but, at its heart, it’s a way to show that you appreciate someone, and that you’re grateful for their presence in your life. That gratefulness reaches its full flowering in the holidays of Ochugen and Oseibo, at the middle and the end of the year, respectively…The Best Traditional Kwanzaa Gifts to Make and Give
Kwanzaa is a celebration of family and community and, as such, is a perfect occasion for gift giving. Whether you pick out Kwanzaa gifts to make or buy, the act of exchange is what brings people together. It’s saying that in these dark days, whether that refers to the early sunset or the challenges of life, there is brightness. There is hope. There are the smiles that come from two people connecting, from a group of people remembering what matters. Family. Community. And the love they share…
Imagine thousands of lights over thousands of houses and across vast lands, stretching back into the mists of times, and you have Diwali. It’s a day where people clean and redecorate, much like the traditions of the Chinese New Year, pushing away the darkness of the last year. And it’s a day to give presents to the ones you love…Feliz Dia de la Reyes: Three Kings Day Gift Ideas for a Royal Celebration
Dias de la Reyes, which falls every year on January 6th, is the exclamation point at the end of the holiday season. While some spend the first week in January wrapping up glass ornaments and dragging away the Christmas tree, that isn’t the case in cultures which celebrate The Feast of the Three Kings. For those lucky countries, the holidays end with a bang, with gifts, with goodies—with joy. It’s one final chance to celebrate a beautiful season with the ones you love…
Late winter and early spring are, for everyone, imbued with a sense of rebirth and excitement. It’s a time to escape the long winter—and look forward to the light. For the Jewish people, though, it means something more. It is the time for Purim, to celebrate when they were saved from annihilation at the hands of the Persians. It’s more than a party for the rebirth of spring; it is celebrating the miracle of existence…The Best Eid al-Fitr Gifts for Traditional Ramadan Gift Giving
To mark the end of that most holy month, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which roughly translates as “The Festival of Breaking the Fast.” And it is a festival: it’s a day where fasting is not allowed because you’re supposed to celebrate and break bread with loved ones, friends, and family. This three-day festival is spent engaging in acts of kindness and charity, and is capped off with a feast. Often, during these three days, gifts are exchanged. These gifts are usually steeped in meaning, even if—especially if—they are simple, because the best gifts of Eid al-Fitr are a reflection of the season that has just passed. They remind us to be grateful for the food we eat, the water we drink, and the love we share.
Each holiday is unique, with its own history and its own story. But there are a lot of similarities as well, like the shared love and joy we experience on our more important days.
At Elfster, we love gifts. We love that all of these holidays encourage gift giving. But, as you will read, a gift isn't about the material, it's about the act of giving. It's about the act of connecting, no matter where you are.
That's why the Elves love facilitating Secret Santa gift exchanges. In a world where you can be thousands of miles away from your family during days that are meant to be shared, we can help you create a gift exchange that lets you make a connection—and that lets your loved ones know you care.
These holidays are points of connections; they connect us with our history, with our culture, and with the ones we love. No matter what holiday you celebrate, we all believe in the same things. Holidays are meant to remind us of what's most important—and that is the greatest gift of all.
How do you celebrate life with the ones you love? Tell us about your favorite gifts and memories on our Facebook page, on Twitter @Elfster, or on Instagram @Elfster. And, to find out more about how Elfster can become a part of your celebration, whatever it is, read our silly "How to Play Secret Santa" guide.